Four Star Playhouse

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Four Star Playhouse
Starring David Niven
Charles Boyer
Dick Powell
Ida Lupino
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 129
Production
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Four Star Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 25, 1952 – July 26, 1956

Four Star Playhouse is an American television anthology series that ran from 1952 to 1956, sponsored in its first bi-weekly season by The Singer Company; Bristol-Myers became an alternate sponsor when it became a weekly series in the fall of 1953 (both sponsors' names alternated as part of the show's title in its initial broadcasts). The original premise was that Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino, David Niven, and Dick Powell would take turns starring in episodes. However, several other performers took the lead from time to time, including Ronald Colman and Joan Fontaine.

Blake Edwards was among the writers and directors who contributed to the series. Edwards created the recurring character (eight episodes) of illegal gambling house operator Willie Dante for Dick Powell to play on this series. The character was later revamped and spun off in his own series starring Howard Duff, then-husband of Lupino.

The pilot for Meet McGraw, starring Frank Lovejoy, aired here (under that title, 25 February 1954), as did another episode in which Lovejoy recreated his role of Chicago newspaper reporter Randy Stone, from the radio drama Nightbeat (titled "Search in the Night," 5 November 1953).

While it never made the Nielsen Top 30, the ratings were sufficient enough to last four seasons. It appears at least some of the series has entered the public domain, and various episodes of the series appear on the Internet Archive and YouTube.

Related article[edit]

See Four Star Playhouse (radio program) for a radio version of this program that preceded the one described in this article.

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